4K Films to Be Sold on Blu-ray Discs in 2D and 3D

The HEVC/H.265 codec will have a lot of work to do from now on

By on January 16th, 2013 09:46 GMT
The Blu-ray Disc Association has proven quick in throwing its support behind the latest video specification, though it still has some kinks to sort out.

CES 2014 was filled with 4K UHD announcements, from TVs to tablets and, as we most recently found out, 84-inch touch tables.

There is one problem with the video standard though, and that is content availability, or lack thereof.

Europe only has one demo 4K channel so far, and the US isn't that much more well off.

That means that film studios will have to start selling movies in 4K quality in order to encourage sales of expensive UHDTVs.

As one might expect, Blu-ray discs have been drafted to help make this happen, since there aren't many other storage media that can hold the large files that 4K titles will require.

Sooner or later, the Blu-ray disc specification will include ultra high-definition support somewhere.

In fact, the Blu-ray Disc Association (BDA) has been experimenting with new technologies for months, and 4K should be one that is next added to the format.

“We created a task force three months ago to study the prospects of adding new technologies to the format. We will evaluate three criteria, starting with the technical feasibility of doing 4K, which is four times the picture quality of 1080p,” said Andy Parsons, the chairman of BDA, in an interview with TechHive.

The one slice of luck that BDA is benefiting from is that there already exists a codec capable of decoding high-resolution video.

Called HEVC/H.265, it does not only have what it takes to handle 3840 x 2160 pixels, but also 7680 x 4320 resolution. It is 51% - 74% more efficient than the MPEG4-AVC/H.264, currently used the most.

BFA will just have to make sure 4k Blu-ray discs don't end up too expensive. $30 / 22.5-30 Euro for a single film isn't exactly reasonable.

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